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DENVER, Colo (KDVR) — Sunscreen may be the last thing on your mind with the wild weather patterns we’ve been seeing, but Colorado doctors say now is the time to begin preparing for the summer heat.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and doctors say Colorado’s frequent sunshine is a blessing in disguise.

 “In Colorado we love to be in the sun, but it is also very difficult on our skin,” said Dr. Andy Nemechek with Health One. “Colorado ranks very near the top for rates of development of skin cancer.”

Nemechek says young people often disregard skin safety until later in life when problems surface.

“We really want our young people to believe the risk in our state and protect themselves while they still have their own robust, indigenous protection systems that they can leverage,” Nemechek said.

He says Coloradans should try to avoid being outside during peak sun. If you can’t avoid it, he recommends wearing light, long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as sunscreen and a hat.

“We have to be as careful as we can in our state to stay healthy from a skin point-of-view,” he said. “The best ways to protect our skin are not difficult, but they’re very important.”